The Karate Kid: Morality Myths & Social Class in America

Discussing The Karate Kid (1984) as a film about social class and class division in America

The most obvious narrative arc in The Karate Kid is Daniel Russo’s growth from a novice martial arts student to a karate champion. This ascension is paralleled on a more subtle level by Daniel’s gradual rise on the ladder of social status.

While he is initially shunned by the group of wealthy young people he aspires to join (as demonstrated early in the film in the scene on the beach), in the end Daniel is embraced by…